SHS exposure in public places and support for smoke-free laws in Japan: Findings from the 2018 ITC Japan Survey
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Japan Cancer Society, Tokyo, Japan
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Canada
National Cancer Center, Tokyo, Japan
Osaka International Cancer Institute, Osaka, Japan
Publication date: 2019-10-12
Corresponding author
Anne C.K. Quah   

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2019;17(Suppl 1):A59
Before 2018, Japan did not have a national smoke-free law covering indoor public places, workplaces, or public transport as recommended by the WHO FCTC. A national smoking ban was passed in July 2018, to be implemented in stages leading up to the 2020 Olympics; however, the law is still not comprehensive. This study examines baseline levels of smoking in public places and support for smoke-free laws in Japan prior to the 2018 smoke-free law. The results will also be compared to findings from other ITC countries to demonstrate the need for stronger smoke-free legislation.

Data are from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Japan Wave 1 Survey (Feb-Mar 2018), a web survey of adult cigarette smokers, HTP users, dual users, and non-users (total N=4,684). Measures included prevalence of smoking (whether respondents noticed people smoking inside restaurants, bars, and workplaces); smoking rules inside these venues; and support for complete smoking bans in these venues.

The majority of indoor workplaces in 2018 (52%) had a complete smoking ban; however, restaurants and bars were more likely to have a partial ban or no rules. As a result, smoking prevalence in public places was extremely high overall – even higher than in China, the country with the greatest toll of SHS. Almost half of all workplaces (49%), over half of restaurants (55%) and the majority of bars (83%) had smoking in 2018, although non-users were less likely to be exposed to SHS. Support for complete smoking bans was also high overall (81% for workplaces, 78% for restaurants, and 65% for bars), and was higher among non-users.

These findings demonstrate the weak impact of partial smoke-free laws in Japan thus far and strong support for a comprehensive national law without exceptions to protect the public from the harms of tobacco smoke.